Finding unique types of places you can stay with a 40ft RV can sound challenging. However, just like driving them, it may be easier than you think, especially with the right basics and knowledge! We travel in a 45′ diesel pusher, so we understand the concern. Today, we’re sharing where you can get in with a big rig, some challenges that may occur along the way, and some tips we’ve learned along the way to ease your travels.
Keep reading to learn about traveling with a long RV. Plus, discover why many state parks and national park campgrounds have such small sites.
Let’s get started!
What Are the Longest RVs on the Road?
The longest RVs on the road are class A motorhomes and fifth wheels. Class A RVs can be up to 45 feet long, and if you include the towed vehicle behind it they can be 60 feet long going down the road. Fifth wheels max out at 45 feet, but remember you’ll also have a 25 foot+ truck also to park and maneuver.
If you add in the length of a tow vehicle or the truck pulling a fifth wheel, RVs can give semi trucks a run for their money. If a large toterhome is pulling a 30-foot trailer, we could see lengths of 70 feet or more! As you can imagine, any of these rigs take a bit more forethought and planning to find suitable roads and campsites.
Is It Challenging to Find Campsites that Fit a 40ft RV?
It can be challenging to find places you can stay in a 40ft RV. Campgrounds originally accommodated the small-size RVs that companies manufactured before the massive towing capabilities of modern trucks and engines. Back then, campers were typically smaller in length, width, and height. This is why older campgrounds typically have smaller roadways and sites.
In recent decades, companies made RVs that people considered “big rigs.” Not only are they long, but they are tall with rooftop airconditioners adding upwards of 10 inches to the already tall roof. They also max out their width with the addition of slide-outs.
Campgrounds and RV parks with trees alongside the aisles and campsites can make it challenging for big rigs to maneuver around trunks and branches. Additionally, the campsites themselves might not be big enough for the entire RV to fit. This may make you wonder what types of places you can take your 40ft RV.
Fortunately, most campground owners realized the need for change, and remodeled where they could to accommodate larger rigs. However, this may mean there are only a certain number of campsites in the park that can fit those RVs.
New RV parks generally design and build their grounds to allow bigger rigs in as well. So, while there are some challenges when owning a big rig, it’s still possible to find campsites.
Why Do So Many State Park and National Park Campgrounds Have Small Sites?
Many state parks and national park campgrounds originated in the early 1900s. Some were even older than the manufacturing of RVs, so the campgrounds were primarily designed for tent camping or car camping. Therefore, an individual campsite didn’t have to be very big.
As time went on and RVing became a national pastime, the campgrounds were already in place. While some state and national parks have updated and expanded their campgrounds, many don’t have the land or funding. Additionally, expansion means the development of the very land the parks are meant to protect.
What Types of Places Can You Stay with a 40ft RV?
There are plenty of places you can stay with a 40ft RV. However, it’s crucial to remember that you often must plan ahead with pretty much any RV longer than 35 feet.
Campgrounds and RV parks usually have the length of their campsites or the maximum size of rigs they accept on their website. The parameters may also be available during the reservation process so that you can select an appropriate campsite for your setup. When in doubt, you can call and ask or read reviews from others who’ve stayed there.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of places you can stay with a 40ft RV.
Most RV privately-owned parks accommodate 40ft RVs. Even if it’s an older RV park, they often add lengthier and larger sites as RV production increases. These may just be more limited.
When searching for places to stay, look for “RV parks” or “RV resorts” versus campgrounds. Campgrounds are sometimes more geared toward tent campers than RVs, whereas if “RV” is in the name, they are definitely expecting RVers. Often they’ll include a note that they’re big-rig friendly. When in doubt, call their office to confirm that you’ll fit on a campsite.
Pro Tip: Are the days of just driving up to a campsite for the night and booking on the spot gone? Find out Do You Really Have to Reserve a Campsite in Advance?
Big Rig Friendly National Park Campgrounds
Many National Park Campground campsites max out around 25-30 feet in length. However, you will be delighted to learn that there are over 20 national park campgrounds with some big-rig-friendly sites. For example, Grand Canyon National Park’s Trailer Village Campground has pull-through lots that can accommodate an RV up to 50 feet in length. But research and reserve your stay well in advance because campgrounds that allow long RVs book to capacity quickly.
Big Rig Friendly State Park Campgrounds
There are big-rig-friendly state park campgrounds. Some may have added bigger sites in recent years, while others have a lot of space and generous areas. It’s usually easier to find lots at state park campgrounds than national parks that can accommodate a 40ft RV.
KOA campgrounds are spread out across the country and do an excellent job of making room for long RVs. They’re also family-friendly RV parks, which motivates them to plan for bigger rigs and bigger sites. You’ll find that many KOAs have pull-through lots, which are convenient for 40ft RVs.
Boondock on BLM Land
Boondocking on public BLM land can be an ideal option for a 40ft RV. You are likely to find more space than you need. However, some of the terrains on BLM land may be treacherous for a big rig. We recommend scoping out the area in your tow or towed vehicle before driving your RV on BLM land. Be sure to check satellite imagery and read reviews on the location. Also, keep an eye on the weather to consider wet conditions for your larger, heavier RV.
Pro Tip: Find a place to spend the night by downloading these Best Boondocking Apps and Websites for Amazing Free Camping.
Harvest Hosts is a membership program in which you pay an annual fee and can stay one night at businesses like wineries, breweries, museums, farms, golf courses, and more. The nightly rate is free, but you usually purchase something from the company.
Many Harvest Hosts locations can accommodate a 40ft RV because they usually have semi-truck deliveries or shipments coming to and from the business. If a semi-truck can get in there, you probably can too. They are easy to find, as you can filter your search by RV length.
What Are the Challenges of a 40ft RV in Campgrounds?
There are many benefits to a 40ft RV, including comfort and more space if you’re traveling with a family. However, campgrounds present some challenges.
Maneuvering the Roads
Maneuvering the roads in a campground with a 40ft RV can be complicated. Campgrounds, especially older ones, often have narrow streets. You must navigate around corners, other RVs, trees, branches, clubhouses, and more. It can be challenging and nerve-wracking.
Fitting the RV and Tow Vehicle on a Site
Fitting a 40ft RV and tow vehicle on a campsite can also be challenging. Even if the site is for big rigs, that doesn’t mean they’ve compensated well for your tow or towed vehicle. Some campgrounds offer additional parking for your vehicle in a separate overflow area.
Length and Width of the RV on a Site
The site size may also not account for the width of your RV. A smaller RV on a 45-foot site may extend its slide-outs without issue, but they have more room to maneuver. With a 40ft+ RV, you need to be very careful of the positioning of your slides so they don’t hit an electric box, tree, or other objects. Have someone spot you while you back in and position where your slides will be.
Is a 40ft RV Too Big?
The good news is, there are enough types of places you can stay with a 40ft RV. These larger RVs make traveling very comfortable for couples or larger families. While more challenging to maneuver and plan camping locations in some cases, the payoff is often worth it.
However, with RVing popularity rising in peak seasons, staying on top of reservations with a big rig is critical. It’s not as easy to make a spontaneous camping trip when your RV is over 35 feet. But with programs like Harvest Hosts and the availability of big-rig boondocking spots, there’s still some room for flexibility.
Where will you take your big rig on your next adventure? Tell us in the comments!
Become A Mortons On The Move Insider
Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!